For sure we need bridges but not ones built with ashes. The finance industry must prove now or never its capacity to end its fossil fuel addiction, or must be regulated to do it.Collectif BreakFree
Our demands for how to improve Building Bridges:
– Creation of a strong scientific committee
– Setting of ambitious science-based goals and creation of an evaluation process
– Co-decision of the program by civil society organizations representing affected communities
– Respect for a pluralism of opinions expressed during each conference/panel/workshop, including critical voices in general as well as critical voices coming from the most affected people
Why does Building Bridges urgently need improvement?
What is the role of the UN and of the Swiss Government?
The Swiss government, represented by Alain Berset, who served as a speaker in the opening panel of the Summit, does not set a better example: Even though the Swiss financial sector is currently not on track to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, the Swiss State still relies on voluntary measures from them instead of imposing binding sustainable finance regulation.
Who is sponsoring Building Bridges?
UBS, diamond sponsor of the event, whose CEO has been invited to give a solo speech on sustainable finance, has one of the weakest fossil fuel policies among the main European banks as a report Collectif BreakFree co-published this year showed. At the same time, the bank recently issued loans to firms known to highly contribute to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. Among the other sponsors, Barclays was the top European funder of fossil fuels between 2016 and 2022 with 190.5 billion. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, refused to halt investment into the fossil fuel industry and its CEO painted coal last year as an «energy for the transition». UBS, Barclays, and BlackRock are obviously using their position in the Summit not to boost a shift out of the crisis pathway but to conceal their eminent responsibility in worsening it.